Over the last two weeks, we have shared with you Part I and Part II of a powerful blog from Dave Umphress. Dave is a member of the Colorado Mozambique Team who recently went to Mozambique to visit the communities where the project will take place. In the third section, Dave shares the story of a woman they met who is creating change in her community.
The second community we visited had been gifted two wells by the same organization in 2009. One was broken and one worked. However, because so many people relied on this one well, there was usually a 3-hour wait to use the well, and a drastically increased chance that it, too, would break down soon with it being so over-worked. This community, though, had been saving up money to repair the broken well. Additionally, they had been recently focusing on drying racks for their dishes, and digging personal latrines outside of their homes. (I won’t get into the fact that a majority of these communities’ problems are only partially related to water issues, and that a large portion of the problems are related to sanitation issues, i.e., hand-washing, hygiene, and open defecation.)
What was the difference? We don’t know how much, but we do know that at least some of the difference could be attributed to one community member that we talked with. She had been visiting a friend in a more urban community, and learned about the risks of not drying dishes after washing, and also that of open defecation. She returned to the community and shared about the need for drying racks and latrines. She wasn’t satisfied waiting around for American aid to show up and fix their problems. She empowered others, encouraging them to take responsibility for their health and for the health of the community. She was also on the “water committee” which is responsible for the raising of the funds to repair the well. This woman is not just part of the solution; she represents the solution.
Check back next week for the conclusion of Dave’s reflection on his time in Mozambique.